Monday, January 13, 2014

Antique Black Glass Buttons

Antique Round Black Glass Molded Buttons
Antique Round Black Glass Molded ButtonsAntique Round Black Glass Molded Buttons
   As a child, I was fascinated with the round tins that held my grandmother's and then my mother's huge array of buttons. My thrifty grandmother and mother cut off and saved every button from the clothing they cut up to make quilts or rugs. Buttons have been around for hundreds of years and made out of many different types of materials, such as, horn, shell, wood, glass, and just about anything else that could be shaped into a fastener. But the buttons that I marveled at the most in those tins were the buttons made out of jet or black glass.

Antique Round Black Glass Molded Buttons   Jet is made from decayed organic wood material that has been compressed under extreme pressure.  The term jet came from the French word jaiet.  There are two types of jet, one formed by the compression of carbon with salt water, hard jet, and soft jet formed by compression with fresh water. Anthracite or hard coal has been used to replace real jet and it is difficult to tell the difference between them.

Antique Round Black Glass Molded Buttons   Queen Victoria made jet popular after her husband, Albert died.  After his death, she only wore black and her black jewelry was made of jet mined in Whitby, England. Jet jewelry became so sought after by the public that the supply was soon depleted and manufactures began to substitute black glass for jet.

   Between 1860 and 1918, Bohemia or today the Czech Republic created thousand of different patterns of black glass buttons in their small workshops.  Glass rods were heated and the molten glass was dropped into hand-cut iron molds. After the buttons cooled, they were hand finished, polished and often decorated with gold or silver. These buttons were shipped worldwide to adorn the latest fashions. Today these buttons are often referred to as antique jet glass buttons and they are collected for their unique designs and beauty.

Antique Square Black Glass Molded Buttons

Read about Antique Metal Buttons
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